chapter  7
19 Pages

The Missionary Factor in Northern Nigeria, 1870–1918

Missionary interest and propaganda in Northern Nigeria may have begun before the eighteenth century. By 1708, it is recorded, there were not less than 100,000 Christian adherents in the kingdom of Kororofa and a sixty-bed hospital had been built by the Roman Catholic priests. About this time, too, Rome attempted to introduce Christianity into Bornu and Father Carlo de Genova was appointed Prefect of the projected Mission.1 But although these early efforts to Christianize Northern Nigeria were feeble and in the long run unrewarding, Christian missions did not withdraw attention from this vast territory, one third the size of India, when they revived their propaganda on the Atlantic seaboard about the middle of the nineteenth century. Even among the explorers who had an interest in Northern Nigeria there were a few who wished to see the Cross planted in the territory and thereby displace the ‘false doctrines of the imposter of Mecca’.2